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tv   NBC Bay Area News Special  NBC  January 12, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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investigate. here's chief investigative reporter tony kobalesky. >> questions in investigations already making a difference. we begin with bay area schools and an important federal law. when you hear the words title ix, you might simply think of women's athletics, but it was passed with much more in mind. it protects students from sexual harassment and abuse, by requiring all schools to have a system in place allowing victims to file a complaint. but investigative reporter jenna susco found some are unaware it even exists. >> a teacher and a principal. >> elementary schoolteacher has been behind bars. >> the victim of sexual battery. >> sexual abuse by a teacher and a coach. >> reporter: it's haunting news. >> popular teacher and coach in albany -- >> reporter: children allegedly victimized at school. >> if something like this happens to your kids, your whole world is upside down. >> reporter: this mother doesn't want to reveal her identity.
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>> 40 counts of molestation later it's finally being tried and he's off the streets. >> reporter: she tells us her 6-year-old was molested by an employee in an after-school program in the south bay. >> for parents that have no idea, they just know something inappropriate happened, for them not to know where to go is troubling. >> reporter: that's where title ix comes in. schools must have a coordinator to handle sexual harassment complaints. and that person's contact information must be made public. so we decided to test the system. using a standard e-mail address, we sent this message to more than 200 principals across 25 districts in the bay area. asking how to contact the title ix coordinator. we even pointed out this person handles sexual harassment complaints. here's just some of what we got back. we don't have a title ix coordinator. i think that would be me. i'm not sure who you would need to talk to. i have no idea who it is. try labor relations. they should know.
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>> it's not just embarrassing. it's scary. >> reporter: carrie miller runs an organization called sesame. she lobbies for laws to protect children and schools. is this something that all principals should know? >> absolutely. every principal should know. >> reporter: we contacted 35 principals in the district, and none could name the title ix coordinator. >> i believe they didn't know what you were talking about. >> reporter: we showed gentle blight of san francisco unified how some of its principals responded. i have no idea what title nine is, sorry. and "i need to know who i am talking to before i send that information." some principals said they don't have a coordinator. >> i think they were confused. >> reporter: principals in the bay area confused about where to send someone to file a sexual harassment complaint. >> if you had said who can i go to if i have a complaint about harassment, every principal should have said you can talk to
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me about a complaint about harassment or discrimination. if they didn't, i'd like to know who they are so we can follow up with them. >> reporter: we did say that in an e-mail. here's our e-mail. we said this person handles sexual harassment complaints. so are these responses okay? >> our principals will respond to parents and students about concerns. >> reporter: so you're not going to say one way or another if these responses are acceptable? >> we welcome our students and parents to come to us with any concerns they have about sexual harassment or discrimination. >> reporter: she told us the title ix coordinator for the district is ruth diep, but her name isn't on any documents which is required. principals also handle complaints. >> they know their responsibilities. >> reporter: then why would they tell us they don't have one? >> they know how to process complaints. >> reporter: but only three principals wrote back that they
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handle complaints. and here's another problem. the u.s. department of education doesn't keep a list of coordinators. so no one knows if schools are complying or not. >> i wasn't aware of it, and neither was anyone else at our district leadership level. >> reporter: sheryl jordan is the assistant principal. she already handles sexual harassment complaints and now is the official title ix coordinator. >> thank you for making us aware of this. >> reporter: everyone should know who the coordinator is at oakland unified. it's posted online and at school. but of the 26 principals we e-mailed, only one knew the answer. >> yes, that's definitely concerning that more principals weren't aware who the title ix coordinator is. obviously this points to a need about training and education in this area. >> reporter: as for san francisco -- it hasn't been brought to us as a concern by a parent or student, so if it is,
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we'll absolutely look into it. >> reporter: if a parent was to bring it to you, then it would be in. >> we have shared all about your rights and responsibilities. >> reporter: and after talking with us for just ten minutes -- >> all right. well, thank you very much. >> reporter: so that's it? no more questions? >> that's it. thank you. >> reporter: she walked out. >> we definitely need more education, more insight to make sure that title ix is being followed. >> and we found this telling. we sent more than 200 e-mails to bay area schools. a few did pass the test and identify the title ix coordinator, but the majority either did not respond or did not know the answer. coming up next, more on title ix. the investigative unit exposes another school ignoring title ix this time involving alleged sex abuse and the teacher. joo [ crickets chirping ]
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[ traffic passing ] ♪ [ music box: lullaby ] [ man on tv, indistinct ] ♪ [ lullaby continues ] [ baby coos ] [ man announcing ] millions are still exposed to the dangers...
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of secondhand smoke... and some of them can't do anything about it. ♪ [ continues ] [ gasping ] welcome back. now more on title ix. a disturbing case, a south bay teacher charged with sexually abusing five of his students while he awaits trial, the investigative unit has uncovered the school district violated that federal law designed to
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protect students in situations just like this one. >> translator: she loves to read. it's her favorite thing to do. >> reporter: a mother's love for her child felt in her words. >> translator: she is an adorable, pretty child, very quiet. >> reporter: a tie so strong, her greatest pain, witnessing her little girl suffer. >> translator: it's bad. >> reporter: their daughter went to whalwhalwhaley elementary in jose, now known as a school with secrets. >> translator: it's very difficult to describe how much damage this has done. i'd like to say the first thing lost is trust. you lose trust in teachers and you just don't know who to trust. >> reporter: police identified their daughter as one of the five children sexually assaulted at school by teacher craig chandler. the alleged abuse came to light after another parent called
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police. a jury convicted the school's principal last month. as failing to report the allegations of abuse to police. but we uncovered a federal law was also violated. by the school district. one that's supposed to be enforced by the department of education. it's called title ix. the law requires schools have policies in place and to train title ix coordinator to handle sexual harassment and abuse complaints. the coordinator's contact information must be made public. we found at the time of the allegations evergreen elementary school district wasn't following this law. do you believe that some of these children would not be victims right now if this school district had simply followed the law? >> without a doubt. >> no doubt in my mind. >> reporter: bob and paul are bay area attorneys. separately representing alleged victims in civil cases against evergreen and chandler. we showed them what we uncovered. >> had they paid attention to that which they are obligated to do, we wouldn't be sitting here
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talking to you today. >> reporter: the principal testified in her trial that she reported the alleged abuse to the district, namely to human resources' director carol schmitt and was told to handle it on her own. she then testified she had not receiving any training on how to handle sexual abuse in 17 years. according to the district, schmitt is the title ix coordinateder. >> in this case it was conveyed to a title ix coordinator and the appropriate action was not taken, far from it. >> reporter: a title ix coordinator with no training and no knowledge of how to process these serious allegations. plus, her contact information wasn't published online. that is, until we told them about the requirements. the website is now updated to include contact information for a title ix coordinator. >> i think it was a clos olossa failure when it had kplanlts in
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its hands involving union children. >> reporter: noreen farrell is with equal rights advocates. she has also filed a request for information from evergreen, asking for proof it's following title ix. she's still waiting for answers, and so are we. for the past two months, the district has dodged our questions. i'm with nbc bay area. so we met up with superintendent kathy gomez outside her office. we've been trying to get in contact with you for more than a month now. >> right. and i think i directed you to our attorney, marc davis. >> reporter: yes, and he has not answered any of our questions. >> i'm sure he will. i need to go. >> reporter: why can't you answer simple questions about what your policy is and whether or not anyone's been trained on title ix? >> he will answer those questions for you. thank you. >> reporter: do you not know those answers? do you not know those answers? >> for educators to stick their head in the hand about sexual abuse of minors and the application of title ix is a real problem. >> reporter: it's why the parents of a little girl hope their words, their pain inspire
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change. >> translator: i would like to ask that they pain attention and follow these laws because it can have a terrible effect on the life of a family when a tragedy happens. >> reporter: don't you think parents deserve to know? >> two weeks after that conversation with the superintendent, attorney marc davis e-mailed us generic information about title ix but did not address the specific questions we asked. he did say the district's title ix coordinators are trained but elected not to provide any of the documentation we requested to prove the coordinators were trained. after the break, you can't do it, but they can. drivers of bay area emergency vehicles texting, talking or using their gps all with their foot on the gas pedal. right now it's totally legal, but the investigative unit's vicky nguyen asks, is it safe?
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and welcome back. we've all gotten one of these, but as you know, using it behind the wheel in california is
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breaking the law. yet there's an exception for drivers of emergency vehicles, it's legal for them to type, text or talk while driving. but here's the issue. if it's unsafe for us, is it any safer for them? tonight, the investigative unit's vicky nguyen found distracted driving with emergency vehicles can cause some significant damage. >> reporter: you're looking at a chp cruiser. wrecked after the officer rammed the back of a taxi at 60 miles an hour. the officer said he took his eyes off the road to look down at his computer on 101 near mountain view. in concord, an officer checked a message for just a second and caused a three-car pileup. we reviewed more than 2 million collision records in california from 2006 to 2011 and found more than 1,000 crashes caused by distracted drivers of emergency vehicles. that's about 14 a month. most of those collisions involve
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local police or chp. we found officers admitting they were on their cell phones and distracted by the computers in their cars moments before crashing. >> no matter how good you are, distracted driving is a killer. and if you can find ways to reduce the distraction, you'll have fewer deaths and fewer collisions. >> reporter: state senator joe authored the law that bans us from talking or texting on a hand-held cell phone while driving, but the law doesn't apply to police when they're in the line of duty. should that loophole be closed? >> i think the law probably makes sense as written, but i think what we've seen is a lot of local jurisdictions have stepped in to apply their own judgment. >> reporter: and they have. most police agencies in the bay area restrict cell phone use while driving, saying it can cause unnecessary distractions and presents a negative image to the public. most also limit computer use to when the car is stopped or in emergencies. but in oakland, there's no policy to address the use of computers, just cell phones.
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that's where chp data shows seven crashes caused by cops driving distracted. is distracted driving a problem for opd? >> i don't believe it is. >> reporter: officer john mendez is the department's lead driving instructor. >> i don't think it's been a situation where we need a policy to tell us when we should use our computer and not use our computer. i think that has more of a common-sense element to it. >> reporter: if you find that the computers are contributing factors in crashes -- >> see, but that's just it. we haven't found that data out yet. >> reporter: but you don't keep track of it. >> true. >> reporter: mendez says officers are trained to multitask. >> you're not going to be looking at the computer. >> reporter: but is training enough? cal post has invested $200,000 to fund a study to quantify how distracted driving affects officers. >> multitasking is a myth. it ain't there. >> reporter: dr. brian vila oversees the research at
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washington state university. he says no police agency wants this. in austin, text, a vehicle driven by a police officer ran a stop sign and struck this motorcyclist. >> i just didn't pay attention. hit send. >> reporter: the officer admitted he was using a dashboard computer. and police in ft. wayne, indiana, are using new technology that shuts down most computer functions when the car is moving faster than 15 miles an hour. >> if i could get you to stare here. >> reporter: in the study sensors track the officers' eye movement and heart rate in this simulator designed to mimic the inside of a police cruiser. the officer must stay within 100 feet of this car at 55 miles an hour while checking and tapping a monitor when they see key words. >> when somebody's killed or injured, when they hit someone else, when they ruin the equipment, that's a terribly expensive cost. >> reporter: he says a total police cruiser costs about
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$100,000 to replace, not counting medical and insurance costs to taxpayers. he was an lapd officer in the 70s. he says today's sfshs are contending with a catch-22, ordered not to drive distracted but equipped with cell phones, laptops, radios. >> they've got one cop doing it with four or five or eight devices going inside the car. it seems pretty damn risky. >> reporter: exactly how risky remains unclear. but the results of distracted driving cost us all. >> results from that study are expected this spring. coming up next -- >> you can see all of the planes including the fake one flying around. >> fake planes showing up on real traffic radars. the investigative unit exposes why this serious may have some huge security holes.
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and welcome back. for all of us who fly, weant our travel to be quick and, of course, safe.
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the federal government's laid down $4 billion to help on both fronts. it's an upgrade to the air traffic control system, and it's currently getting tested right here in the bay area. but the investigative unit's steven stock shows us there are flaws in that system making it vulnerable to hackers. >> on reverse yankee -- >> reporter: you are watching realtime video of an airplane's final approach at san francisco international airport. the coordinates are real, the landing pattern real as are all the airplanes flying in front of and behind the plane you are watching. the only trouble, the plane you are watching land is not real. it's a ghost airplane inserted into a realtime air traffic pattern by computer hackers. >> you can see all of the planes including the fake one flying around. >> reporter: nick foster created this demonstration of what a computer hacker like himself could do to disrupt air traffic at major airports around the country. >> so we can prove without
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actually injecting planes into the air traffic control system that it's actually possible to create these signals. >> reporter: the new system called nextgen is scheduled to become fully operational by 2020. it is a complex system of air traffic control that will use satellite-based technology similar to the gps you use in your car rather than the current ground-based radar tracking systems to more efficiently and safely control traffic in the air throughout the united states. nextgen is already being used on a trial basis here in the bay area. earlier this year, faa acting administrator michael huerta showed off the technology at oakland's air traffic control tower. >> there are things that we are doing that are improving the use of the airspace that will result in a lot of benefit right away. what we're going to be able to do is make some remarkable changes in the airspace that will benefit the entire nation. >> reporter: while the benefits of these technological changes
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may come in time, several different sources worry about security flaws now. nick foster says the same technology that allows anyone with a receiver or a smartphone to track planes in the air also can make this nextgen system vulnerable. >> i'm far from the only one out there who has these skills. in that sense, that's very concerning because i would like to consider myself one of the good guys because i think it's fun to do this stuff. if i can do it, somebody else can. >> reporter: this potential threat has generated attention across the continent. foster teamed with a canadian, brad hanes, to create this demonstration of nextgen's vulnerability for a recent underground hacking conference. >> i started doing all this research to try to prove to myself that it was safe and so far have failed miserably. >> reporter: hanes talked to us via skype from his home in canada. he showed this hacking demonstration in order to call attention to what terrorists might do and to prompt the faa to fix the problem before
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nextgen starts getting operational. >> this is where it's concerning because if 50 extra flights pop up on the controller's display, what are they going to do? >> reporter: and it isn't just computer hackers who are concerned. this 45-page graduate research project at the department of air force's air university outlines the very same security vulnerabilities that hanes and foster demonstrated for us. the project goes on to show how terrorists sitting in vans near major airports could seriously disrupt the entire nation's air traffic and even jeopardize air passenger safety by inserting ghost planes into the system. or this research public lired just this fall in the "journal of aviation and aerospace perspectives" which demonstrates in startling detail how someone could alter live data from air traffic control towers or inject dozens of ghost airplanes all over the country. >> our committee evaluates the
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progress, and we would have to give it a "d" minus. >> reporter: this congressman chairs the powerful house transportation committee, overseeing the faa and its implementation of next gen. >> we've got to have a sound and security system. >> reporter: he's not pleased with the progress. >> every day is a new adventure. cybersecurity breaches, it's a constant evolutionary process that you've got to always be one step ahead of the bad guys. so that is a threat. >> the faa maintains that the threat of hackers breaking into the new nextgen system is no different than it is to the current air traffic control system. any use a process to ensure the security and safety of the system. we thank you for joining us tonight. we invite you to stay tuned to nbc bay area. we ask the tough questions. we uncover the important stories. we investigate.
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i'm tony kovaleski. good night.
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>> did espn need to apologize. hi everybody. welcome to "access hollywood". weekend edition i'm shaun robinson. she caught brent attention and instant twitter sensation and now catherine webb girlfriend of alabama quarterback aj mccarran defend announcer under fire for his comments. >> you know i think i think the media has been really unfair to him.
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>> i think it's so unbecoming when a grown man slobbers and drool. down boy down. >> i think if he warm front situated something along the line of that we were hot or sexy or made any derogatory statements like that, i think that would have been a little bit different but the fact that he said that we were beautiful and gorgeous i don't see why any woman wouldn't be flattered by that. >> you quarterback get all the good looking women. >> with 73-year-old brent comments resulting in catherine twitter followers jumping to 250,000 she told today there was no miss alabama slamming by his co that the espn poll jaysed for saying they wept too far. >> i don't think it was needed honestly. of course i appreciate it but at the same time i don't think that i needed an apology. >> i think it's absolutely ridiculous that espn apologize apologized. what he said was really a compliment. what he did was probably said what everybody watching television wa t


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